Thursday, 25 July 2013

Steeles Avenue is my B***ch

Ironman training is going - and going well.  I am putting in my multiple workouts, cherishing my Monday rest day and am also starting to feel its effects.  My Saturday long bike ride is a culmination of a week of tough workouts with limited rest, but that is IM - you learn to do everything on tired legs and with a tired body.

A few weeks ago on a Saturday long ride, I was introduced to the Steeles Avenue hill.  This hill is really in two parts with the first (shorter) part being a 13% grade then a "plateau" where it is still climbing but the grade eases and then the second climb with a tougher piece at the end.

This first time, I had to get off my bike and walk to the plateau or I thought I would fall since I was going so slow.  I got back on my bike and finished the climb, but had to retrieve my lungs from outside my body. 

I was not a happy camper that I had to walk some of the hill, but my coach and Shelley encouraged me and said that I could do this - they haven't steered me wrong yet. 

Aha, a bite size goal - climb Steeles Avenue hill without stopping!

The second attempt was with just Shelley and I managed to climb to the plateau, stop my bike to try to breathe (but didn't get off my bike) and then continue to the top, where I stopped to once again retrieve my lungs.  Better, but not quite there yet.

This past Saturday was my third attempt at Steeles (three's a charm, don't you know) - it was on the first 60k loop of a 120k ride.  I had fab support with Shelley beside me and my coach behind me when I turned onto Steeles and got in my granny gear. 

It is a tough slog and when I could see the plateau, I really, really, really wanted to stop (which of course I verbalized).  That was greeted by a surround sound chorus of "You're not stopping - keep pedalling".  Apparently the plateau is where I can at least retrieve one of my lungs.  I tried to negotiate by asking if I could stop at the top.  "Only if you have to" was the response.

So I kept pedalling through the plateau (which actually did allow me to breathe a bit) and then continued up the second half and around the corner through the tougher finish.  By this time, I am sure that all of Milton could hear my gasping, but I did it...and kept pedalling.  I didn't stop at the top but just stayed in my granny gear to spin my legs and recover. I also knew that the long downhill of Bell School Line was just a few minutes away.

That was one proud moment for me - I set a goal for myself, learned from my previous attempts, toughed it out and accomplished it.  Sometimes when the overall goal can be overwhelming (hello...Ironman Florida), achieving bite size goals allows you to have your mini moment in the sun, while reinforcing belief in yourself and your potential.

While the goal of climbing the Steeles Avenue hill is a wee bit smaller than finishing Ironman, the concept is the same. 

I have to believe I can do this - I have to learn from my training - I have to tough it out - I will accomplish it.

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

A Garden of Positivity

Yesterday marked four months until Ironman Florida...that seems like a short period of time for me to be ready to step into the ocean and embark on the hardest thing I have ever done.  That was my moment of sheer panic.  Once I started breathing again, I realized that over the past three months, everything I have done in my training (along with the guidance and mentoring of my coach and support of my family and friends) has confirmed the fact that I can and will finish my IM race.  Now my focus is on finishing it well.

With that affirmation planted...there is gonna be a whole garden of positive self-talk growing...I had a fabulous month of training in June.  My build phase kicked in which increased my swims to three times a week (3k each) and the Saturday bike ride is getting longer.  I continued to push myself on the bike and kept my speed and tempo runs strong. 

The Healing Cycle 100k ride was awesome!  It's a bit of a tough course with some hills and climbs, but I did it with some amazing friends and we raised over $18,000 for Carpenter Hospice - doesn't get much better than that.

Two days later, I ran the Grimsby Peachbud 10k race.  While I was hoping for a PB, the heat/humidity and the Healing Cycle didn't quite agree with that plan.  I did, however, run a sub 1:00 and helped a friend of my husband's break the 1:00 mark as well.  Sometimes it isn't always about winning.

The final weekend of the month (Canada Day weekend) was spent at a cottage in Parry Sound.  It was a training triathlon (Kerry style) with swimming in McDougall Lake, a long bike ride consisting of kick ass hills, gradual climbs, rollers and false flats, topped off with a longer run on the very same rollers.

Training Review - 654k / 58:04 hours / 52 workouts

Day by day my confidence grows, along with my abilities to complete Ironman Florida and to do it well.  My heartfelt thanks to everyone who is helping me and following me on this journey - together we will cross that finish line when I can say that I am an Ironman.